Published: 08/02/2018 19:00 - Updated: 02/02/2018 09:47

School 'blunder' mum backed by councillor

Councillor Maxine Smith.A ROSS councillor has backed a fed-up Invergordon mum who slammed the "ludicrous" red tape preventing her son from using a free school bus.

Cllr Maxine Smith said school catchment areas based on a child’s address were skewed and causing a headache for too many parents in the area.

Mother-of-two Gaynor Chalmers (40), who lives at Woodview, Kindeace with her husband Alan and sons Cody (10) and Cameron, who is six months old, hit out at education chiefs after they said Cody was in the wrong school catchment to qualify for the school bus – and sent her a bill.

The problem stems from the fact his school, less than three miles from the family’s home, is not in his catchment – but another school 10 miles away is.

Mrs Chalmers now has to pay for the school bus, at £7.01 per month, or take him to school. She said she was told that if Cody went to Milton Primary – his official catchment school – it would have been the council’s responsibility to get him to and from it by bus or taxi.

Cllr Smith, who has been pressing for a review of catchment areas, said the issue was a "massive problem" affecting many parents in the Alness and Invergordon area.

She said it went back decades to when new schools were built to accommodate a growing population but catchment areas were not redrawn to reflect this.

"The catchment areas are not based on the new population figures or where people live," she said. "People need to be able to go to the school that’s closest to them."

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